I’ve lost track of how long we have been doing remote learning this school year. It seems like forever but in reality, it’s only been since November. I would be lying if I told you I loved it. I understand why we need to do it right now but I really, really dislike it.
My children are in 8th grade and 4th grade, so they are in different schools with different schedules, learning different things. My daughter is pretty self-sufficient, so she is able to do her schoolwork on her own but my son needs more help during the day. I have to sit next to him the entire day walking through things, navigating Google Classroom, and keeping him on task when he wants to quit. You could say I’ve become an honorary 4th grader.
During my time as a 4th grader I have learned a lot of things. I have learned that no matter how many times these wonderful, amazing teachers ask the students to mute their microphones, there will always be that one child who doesn’t do it. I have learned that, overall, 4th Grade is hard. I have learned that Eureka Math makes things more complicated than they need to be but in the end it’s not the most horrible thing ever. And am I the only one who had no idea that the Byzantine Empire was actually a thing?
I’ve learned what a Rube Goldberg machine is and how to make one. Re-learned how to do long division and realized that I will never be an accountant. I’ve drawn pictures, said the phrase “Please stay on task” a hundred times, and smiled while Nathan is doing Virtual Gym class. I may have even cried out of frustration a little, but don’t worry, I went to the bathroom to cry instead of crying on camera.
I learned I’m pretty good at playing Kahoot, and I really need to teach my daughter more about 90s music and culture. I’ve learned why my kids are so tired after a full day of schoolwork, and that my son deals with the daily pressures way better than I would have imagined. I’ve realized school is a fast-paced environment that doesn’t give teachers enough time to do what they do best, teach.
Most of all I have learned I never want to be a teacher, and that teaching is a thankless profession. We really need to give these teachers a little more grace and credit than we are giving them in this unprecedented time. Teaching in a normal environment is hard enough but teaching remotely during a pandemic? It’s nearly impossible. We as parents need to appreciate the hoops they are jumping through to make sure students don’t slip through the cracks.
Not only are they keeping up with the students and making sure they are learning and staying engaged, they are now worrying about the parents as well. One of Nathan’s teachers actually asked me how I was doing the other day. He was worried that I was getting burnt out, and genuinely wanted to make sure I was OK. I wanted to tell him that I was struggling to keep it all together but I also didn’t want to burden him with more things on his plate, so instead I just smiled and said, “Thank you, I’m doing OK.”
But let’s be real, who is really doing OK right now?
Remote Learning is not easy. It’s confusing, time consuming, and imperfect. But overall I would say everyone is doing the best they can with the resources available. In the beginning I was very upset about remote learning but after participating in it I am thankful our teachers and staff are here and available, and working hard to teach and love our children like they are their own. Obviously, I wish they could go back to face-to-face school but for now I will embrace what is thrown at us, try not to complain too much, and hopefully learn more math skills that I can apply to my daily life.
Steph Hightree is a hot mess mom who is fueled by stress and too much caffeine. She is a Three Rivers native who talks about the good, the bad, and well, everything else about parenthood.
Any views or opinions expressed in “#MomLife” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.